For a week I seem to have been indulging in myself – looking out for scholarships, thinking about my achievements to flaunt in my personal statement, looking out for opportunities in the different organizations offering me a chance to study abroad. For the same period, I realised I didn’t make any contributions to academia, I didn’t generate any new ideas for the world and I have not helped much people with anything (besides a few for matters that are of, okay, considerable importance, and I guess you know who you are). In essence, I have been selfish and that’s why I have not been being too happy. My intentions for generating ideas have become those surrounding the elevation of myself rather than purely for the sake of inquiry like in the past. Even when I speak to people I seem to hope to obtain information that would be of use to me in future rather than out of pure curiosity. This sort of motives are bothering me.
I have been happy most of the time this year (and many other years) because I held on only to the desire to know. This change in me is not inherent but shaped by external forces – the realities of the world and the features of our system. That’s not to discredit the system in achieving its purpose of advancing the society and cultivating talents; I know of tonnes of people who are working towards the good of the entire society because they are responding appropriately to the incentives system that is set up and for them, the reason they work is directly tied to these incentives. I long admit my deviation from the typical rational agents of the system and have never once seen myself as part of the system anyways – perhaps until recently. As I grow to take up more responsibility of my life, the sad fact of reality sets in and I become subjected to the constraints set up by the environment and forced to respond to the incentives of the system. I dread that sort of materialism (that’s to assume knowledge is immaterial) so what I need now is a consistent set of belief that would reconcile my persistence for truth and the natural constraints of both my physical and mental capacities.
Had I clarified the context of my discourse earlier, I might not have disturbed so many readers (and many others who cease reading this entry even before this part comes). My goal: To know. And now that I have reached a particular milestone in knowing, getting to the next stage is harder and the entropy of this next stage is so high that it sometimes confuses me. I need access to more advanced text only available in limited libraries in the world and I need to get in touch with people, specialised people of different fields, to talk to them, to discuss about issues I have been interested in, to conduct research with them, to propose theories and get them validated, to make criticism about flawed arguments, to have my own propositions corrected. Of course, I guess there’s no need to spell out the constraints. I need a scholarship, an admission into a top institution and a good deal of luck to fulfill my goal. But the stuff really don’t end there. Remember? I am a rogue academic, what makes you think I stay in academia and let myself be overwhelmed by the sort of power (super)structure that exist in the realm of the intellectuals?
I have never said that ‘to know’ is a goal restricted solely to academia or intelligent systems. I understand some previously thought I am a misanthrope but the fact is that I am extremely interested in social/human systems, the macro-consequences of micro-interactions. I am curious about how the aggregate of all is more than the sum of its constituents. To want to know these would mean I have to immerse myself in human systems, in societies, in artificial environment free of the forces of nature (at least for most times – I am not that ready to tackle the question of anthropogenic interaction with Mother Nature but I’ll touch on that later). I have chosen to be with the corporate, to be around businesses, the meaningful sort of interactions between people that have the longest history. Just think about it, the family systems in the human race have been very much the same throughout all these years of existence, even if the functions were to differ, the relationships are grounded upon the same basis that is borne of nature. But businesses are different – it is something so entirely artificial and yet seem to stem from human nature itself. I hope to plant myself in these business interactions and see things being accomplished through such interactions – perhaps even take part in such interactions. High chance I’d try to make a career out of that.
If a life goal of the desire ‘to know’ is merely restricted to studies and a career I guess I wouldn’t consider myself a ‘wholesome’ person (though you can call that a ‘workaholic’ as well). I am also curious about the interactions between man and nature and the wondrous power of the consequences our collective decision have on the environment and eventually, ourselves. I hope to have an idea of how a world where nature-man’s mutual dependence can be more pronounced or plausibly manifest in our reality. Given such abstract goal, I can only fulfill it through the arts. I may not really know the stuff I desire in my conscious mind, but through exploration of the world, photography and the ventures into different art forms, I hope my subconscious mind gets a glimpse into answers to the questions I have. I want to be able to experience and know things that cannot be so easily achieved from my interactions with the other beings and my adventures into the tomes and scrolls accumulated over my time.
I am glad now, for in such a short piece of writing, I seem to have mapped out my purpose and reconcile it with the harsh realities of our world. It has always been in my mind but somehow I didn’t know what I think until I write them out. Laying out all these is just the first step to getting them into reality. Perhaps, the title of this entry can mean the way Richard has used it.